“I’m telling you, Marie, there is something seriously fishy going on at that castle.” Sydney glanced through her kitchen window at the imposing structure. Just last week it had been an old and abandoned castle, crumbling with the ages. Then the next morning there were dozens of construction vehicles moving through their sleepy town and now, a week later, it was completely renovated.
“Don’t be so paranoid, Syd. Change is good and for a town as small as ours, it’s great! It might even get some of the businesses reopened.” Sydney scowled at her friend’s logic. A lot of people had been forced to close their shops due to the economy and with no jobs, they moved away. It caused a lot of stress for the people remaining in town as the population thinned out. She had moved here from the city just last year and started working at the local school. The number of children left in school was so little that the kindergarten, primary, and high school now all used the same building.
“Yeah, I guess. I’ve got to go. We’ve got a meeting before classes start.” She gave Marie a quick kiss on the cheek before rushing out the front door. The walk to school took her about five minutes and she made it just in time. The other teachers all mused about what the meeting was about, but as far as she could tell, no one had a clue. The door to the teachers’ lounge opened and a man walked in. A huge man—easily over six feet tall with bulging muscles that were not so subtly disguised beneath the designer business suit he was wearing.
“Good morning, everyone. I am Jason O’Neill and I’ll be the new headmaster.” Immediately everyone started whispering amongst themselves. Sydney jumped up. “Where is Ronnie?”
The man looked at her with piercing eyes and she had to grit her teeth in order not to cower away at the intensity he radiated in that moment. Dangerous, her mind whispered to her.
“Miss Steele. Miss Harris moved over the weekend, to Florida.” Sydney’s mouth fell open at that. Ronnie was in her late fifties and was born in this town. She had no children or relatives, so why would she move just like that? Without telling anyone? Without telling her? Sydney grew up as an orphan so she and Ronnie were really close… at least she thought they were. She sat down, her mind reeling as Mr. O’Neill started talking about a surplus of students that would start today, all various ages. Sydney zoned out as the strangeness of it all occurred to her. Something was going on and she was going to find out what it was.
“Syd! Are you home?” Marie’s excited voice reached her ears as she was sitting at their breakfast corner with a glass of wine.
“Yeah, in the kitchen.”
“Oh, I met the most perfect man today!” Sydney raised her brows at that. There weren’t a lot of men in town, most were married or old and she and Marie knew all of them. How could she meet a new man?
“His name is Scott Thompson and he came into the diner with his friends! He is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly well built and so dreamy. He is the perfect gentleman and he left a huge tip before asking me out.” She gave a wistful sigh before shaking her head slightly. “Anyway, he just moved here. He’s like a PA or something and he and his boss had breakfast with the new sheriff and the new head of the hospital.”
At that, Marie had her full attention. “What happened to the old sheriff? And Jacob? He was an excellent doctor.”
“Apparently, the sheriff had filed his retirement a while ago so he worked his last shift on Friday and Jacob got another job in Seattle.” Sydney was stunned. She stood up and walked over to the kitchen window.
“Everything started getting weird when those people showed up.” She pointed toward the castle. “You know we have a new headmaster and there were over three hundred new students enrolled today. Where did all these strangers suddenly come from? And where do they live? I haven’t seen anyone strange in town but suddenly we have all these new kids in school? The new sheriff, new chief at the hospital, new headmaster at school? Something just doesn’t add up here, Marie.”
“You know, you read too many paranormal books. Anyway, Scott is going to be here any second; he’s picking me up for our date so I’m going to quickly go get ready. Open the door for him when he gets here, will you?” Sydney rolled her eyes as Marie left the kitchen, but then suddenly her head popped around the corner again. “Oh, and be nice, will you?”
“Yes, Mom.” She poured herself another glass of wine just as the doorbell chimed. Groaning softly, she made her way to the front door.
“Hi, you must be—whoa…” Another freakishly large man? “What did your mother feed you?”
“Excuse me?” His voice had a deep timbre to it and just like that morning with Jason O’Neill, her mind screamed that this man was dangerous.
“Sorry, I mean… I’m Sydney. You must be Scott.” She stepped to the side and waved him in. “Marie will be done in a minute so make yourself comfortable.”
Scott came inside and made the normally comfortable living room suddenly seem too small. Standing next him, Sydney felt uncomfortably tiny and totally overwhelmed.
“I hope it won’t be an inconvenience, but my boss will be stopping by to get some documents from me.”
“I’m sure Marie won’t mind if your date is interrupted for a small while.” Hell, Marie was so smitten with the guy already, Sydney doubted that she would notice if the guy was talking to someone else at the dinner table.
“Actually, he should be here…” the doorbell chimed again and Scott smiled at her, “…any minute now.”
Sydney went to open the door but Scott raised his hand to stop her. “Allow me.” His broad body obscured her vision of who was at the door, but what she could make out was that the newcomer was even larger than the freakishly huge Scott. Their voices were soft so she couldn’t make out what they were talking about, but just as Scott reached down to take his papers out of a briefcase Sydney hadn’t noticed him bringing in, she locked eyes with a man so startlingly attractive that she felt her knees buckle.
The intensity that radiated from him left her breathless and she had to put her hand against the wall to steady herself. She heard a barely inaudible growl emanate from him and to her utter embarrassment it didn’t scare her but instead turned her on. The sound reverberated through her body, shaking up all her lady parts and she had to clench her hands in fists to keep them from visibly trembling. Sydney gave him a quick once-over. His hair was a bit on the long side, but not in a grunge way—it was perfectly styled and curled slightly in a way she found incredibly sexy. He had a serious look on his face, a five o’clock shadow beard, and piercing golden eyes. The color was strangely beautiful because she had never seen it before.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry, but I’m… ready.” Marie stumbled down the stairs, adjusting her little black dress but she fell silent as soon as she saw the crowded doorway. “Oh, Mr. Moore. Good evening.”
Sydney’s eyebrows raised in astonishment. Mr. Moore? Good evening? Since when did her bestie turn so proper? But as the mysterious Mr. Moore ducked his head to fit through their doorway, her mouth fell open. Holy mother of macaroni! Now that was a man! He was big in every sense of the word and even in his business suit she could tell that there wasn’t even an ounce of fat on him. He was all burly muscles and burning intensity as he kept his eyes firmly fixed on her.
“Scott, you have a dinner date.” His voice was firm, strong, and left no room for argument. It also had what little of her hormones that had remained stable at his physical appearance going completely haywire. She was so out of it that she didn’t even notice Scott ushering Marie out of the house and closing the door softly behind them. Her gaze remained fixed on the man in front of her who surmounted even her most extravagant fantasy.
“I am Alexander Moore.” She blinked and he was right in front of her.
“Sydney Walker.” She extended her hand toward him and after a fraction of hesitation, his large, masculine hand engulfed her much smaller, delicate one. She felt shocks of electricity running up her arm and gasped as she pulled away. “Uhm… so, Mr. Moore, was…”
“I’m sorry?” She looked at him in confusion.
“You call me Alex.”
“Mr. Moore.” She kept her voice firm and steady with difficulty. “Was there…” The next moment she was pushed against the wall, both her arms locked above her head in one of his while his body pressed against her demandingly.
“When I tell you something, you do not question it. You do not disregard it. Is that clear, little one?”
“Who the hell do you think…”
“And you never swear at me. Ever.” The last word came out in a growl and she saw his eyes flash almost black before the glowing golden orbs burned into hers again. She gulped and remained quiet.
“Good girl. Now say my name.” The command was there again, but this time his voice was slightly softer, gentler, and absolutely magical, encouraging Sydney to comply without any fuss.
This time when he growled, she couldn’t contain the involuntary moan that slipped past her lips. The sound rumbled through his chest and reverberated down her body, causing heat to pool between her legs. This was crazy, she told herself. She’d just met this man and here she was, about to dry hump him. She cleared her throat nervously and gently pushed against his chest. He seemed reluctant at first but slowly dropped his arms before taking a step back. Sydney skittered away from him toward the kitchen. The bay window by the breakfast corner was wide open, letting in a welcoming breeze to help calm her frazzled nerves.
“Would you like a glass of wine?” she asked over her shoulder as she headed to the cupboard to get him a glass.
“Yes, thank you.” Sydney took a deep breath, deciding not to dwell on the fact that there was a virtual—albeit unbelievably attractive and immensely intimidating—stranger in her house, about to have a glass of wine with her. She poured him a glass silently, handing it to him before taking a seat and waving him forward to sit across from her. He seemed too big to fit in her small sanctuary, but once he was seated opposite her, it seemed right to have him there. Comfortable, even. She picked up her cigarettes and was about to offer him one when the pack disappeared from her hands and he crumpled it with one hand, a furious look etched on his handsome features.
“You will not contaminate your body with such filth.” Her mouth fell open as her mind registered that he had just destroyed one of her little pleasures and once again commanded her to do something.
“Excuse me, Mr. Moore, but you are…”
He stood up abruptly and pulled her up by her arm in one smooth motion.
“I told you to call me Alex, and objecting to my decisions regarding your well-being will not be tolerated.” His voice brooked no argument, but Sydney was one stubborn woman.
“Now you listen here. This is my house and I am living my life exactly the way I want to. You have no right to come in here…”
“I have every right, little mate and you’d do well to abide by my rules.”
“Your rules? Get out.” She pointed toward the door with fire lighting up her eyes.
“You have great spirit, little one, but you will obey my every command.”
“Your every command?” She folded her arms across her chest, attempting to rein in her temper. “And what exactly will you do when I decide to tell you to go to hell?” She firmed her stance as his eyes flashed dark before a small smirk made its way onto his face.
“I will bend you over the nearest surface.” He took a step closer. “Lift that pretty little dress of yours,” another step closer, “pull down your lace panties—I am sure they will be a delicate white,” another step brought him chest to chest with her and she had to crane her neck in order to maintain eye contact, “and then I’ll spank your perfect white bottom bright red until you beg me to stop.”
Sydney could only gape at him as she noted the seriousness of his stare and the promise in his words. He leaned down and gave her a very soft kiss, right on the lips, before sucking her bottom lip into his mouth slightly and biting down on it, hard enough for her to gasp as the sting of pain shot straight to her core, causing her delicate white lace panties to flood with juices. Alexander stepped back and smirked down at her again.
“Oh, yes, I am going to enjoy taming you, my feisty little mate.”
Sydney was too shell-shocked to say or do anything. She just stood there until she heard the front door close as Alexander showed himself out without another word.